Category Archives: Vision

All posts describing the ideas and the way we want to go

Interactive Cloud OS @ Webmonday Frankfurt: Save the date.

On July 8th, there is a short introduction to our new Interactive Cloud OS Distribution. The presentation will be held at the Webmontag #50, Frankfurt / Main in the “Brotfabrik”.

The Webmonday’s  main topic is “code” for this evening, but the Interactive Cloud OS will be presented within the “Spotlight” time slots after the half-time break.

The event starts on Monday, the 8th of July 2013 at 19:00. After presentation, there will be a good chance to talk to the project founders.

Please enlist to the event at: http://www.wmfra.de/programm/webmontag-frankfurt-50-schwerpunkt-code.html

Here you can find the location map:http://www.brotfabrik.info/index.php?id=10

Hope to see you there! 🙂

Secure Public Cloud Setup? An idea…

Running a virtual machine on any public cloud has an inherent security risk: The cloud service provider.

The cloud service provider may take a snapshot of the virtual machine at any time. Thus allowing him access onto any data available at the moment of the snapshot, even onto encrypted data. Or to suspend the virtual machine to maliciously inject a root kit into the virtual machines memory, no matter if it’s running Windows or Linux or any other Operating System.

Call me paranoid. But besides those sophisticated attack scenarios there are much simpler ones, like just peeking the virtual disk. Anyhow, this allows data privacy violation as well as industrial espionage by a cloud service provider, regardless if he acts on his own or is forced by court or an intelligence service.

And do not forget, that the Washington Post has shown that the U.S. intelligence runs a program called PRISM to secretly mine data from U.S. internet companies.

So it may be of some interest for the internet community to create a secure public cloud setup (SPC — let’s call it spice) with Interactive Cloud OS –or any other Linux– which is not vulnerable to unrestricted and unnoticed access to private data.

But how could a user protect his data or virtual machines in a public cloud? Some requirements come to mind:

  • Any access on a virtual machine or its disks will be logged and shown to the user.
  • Any user should be able to check at any time that the running OS hasn’t been altered.
  • The running OS should be open source, thus allowing the community to check for back doors.

At a first glance it looks impossible to achieve the requirements.

But, on the other hand, Interactive Network already developed award winning system Intermediär with similar requirements which is used to ensure high grade data privacy for the German Haemophilia Register. Using a combination of digital signatures, cryptographic functions and organisational conditions Intermediär is protected against any unnoticed alteration or eavesdropping, including hardware based attacks, like key loggers.

After all it ought to be possible to achieve the requirements.

But even if there is a chance to fail, creating an open source process to SPiCe up the cloud would be worth the effort, wouldn’t it?

Feel free to join the discussion.

It’s time for the next generation operating system

The cloud offers huge opportunities

Technically speaking, the cloud is the virtualization of hardware and network infrastructure and has the goal to supply users with software and services hosted at redundant datacenters. It is a big market with high growth rates and will evolve.

There are several cloud operating systems (OS) on the market, mainly as commercial distributions, which are not specialized in cloud computing and security. Most of them derive from standard Linux kernels.

But operating systems are prone to be attacked

The design of these operating systems is based on huge distributions, which carry along a lot of unnecessary and outdated software. In connection with Internet usage, this opens the doors to attackers and malicious threats. Due to the concept of an underlying operating system, which has always to be run as the system’s foundation, this is the Achilles heel of these systems: If a hacker can take over the underlying OS, he would be highly able to compromise the guest OSs above as well.

Furthermore, the commercial packages are no fast followers of the newest internet and technology trends, but bound to tight company’s strategy.

Therefore we will create an open source Linux cloud OS

Linux has been proven for high security and availability, but has to be hardened and optimized for its proper usage. So it is time for a new Linux distribution, which is open source and dedicated to cloud computing only. And it is time to discard the burden of old technology and workarounds to accelerate processes with a newly designed OS.

By reducing the amount of packages from tens of thousands to numbers below 500, it would be easier, faster and more secure than any cloud OS available today.

The well known and accepted open source mechanisms allow it to be freely distributed. For commercial customers, the wide basis of independent installations ensures the production grade and quality.

On top of the OS which we identified as the first milestone in cloud evolution , there could be many services (e.g. free / commercial).